SharePoint & Flow – Vacation Requests

 In Blog

It’s that time of the season where vacation requests are starting to come in for summer. Whether your organization is small or large, having an approval system in place can be crucial to keep things straight and make sure not too many people are out at the same time.

Below we will go over how to create a SharePoint vacation request form, creating a Flow for manager approval, and then having it display on a SharePoint calendar. Having the vacations display on an internally viewable calendar will also help self-service vacation requests so employees can plan accordingly.

As a warning – For the below workflow to work as expected, the user’s manager needs to be set correctly in Azure AD

On the SharePoint site you wish to add the request form & Calendar perform the following steps

Click New -> List

  • Name: Vacation Requests
  • Description: Vacation Requests List
  • Leave checked: Show in site navigation
New List Creation

New List Creation

 

Click the gear in the top right corner -> Site Contents

SharePoint - Site Contents

SharePoint – Site Contents

Click three dots next to “Vacation Requests” -> Settings

Vacation Requests - List Settings

Vacation Requests – List Settings

We will be making a lot of changes on this settings page and I’ve highlighted all the spots we will be going into

Vacation Request List - Settings

Vacation Request List – Settings

Near the middle of the screen select column labeled “Title

  • Change Column Name to: Vacation Requestor
  • Require that this column contains information: Yes
  • Click the “OK” button
Vacation Request List - Edit Column

Vacation Request List – Edit Column

Select “Create Column

  • Column Name: Start Date
  • Type of Information in this column is: Date and Time
  • Require that this column contains information: Yes
  • Date and Time format: Date & Time
Vacation Request List - Create Column

Vacation Request List – Create Column

Repeat the above steps for “End Date” column

Select “Versioning Settings” -> enable “Require content approval for submitted items?

Vacation Request List - Versioning Settings

Vacation Request List – Versioning Settings

Click “Site Contents” -> New -> App -> select Calendar -> Name: Vacation Calendar

Adding Vacation Calendar

Adding Vacation Calendar

Click 3 dots next to Vacation Calendar -> Settings -> click List name, description and navigation -> enable “Display this list on the Quick Launch” -> Click Save

Vacation Calendar Settings

Vacation Calendar Settings

From your site’s home page you should now have Vacation Requests & Vacation Calendar in the side navigation

Navigation with new lists

Navigation with new lists

 

Microsoft Flow

At this point, we will perform the rest of the work in Flow. This can be found in your Office 365 app launcher (Square grid in top left corner) or by going to https://us.flow.microsoft.com. Flow is Microsoft’s answer to the “If this; than that” question. Flow enables users to create automated workflows through many of Microsoft’s cloud products.  

Select My Flows -> New -> Create from template

Microsoft Flow - Create new from template

Microsoft Flow – Create new from template

Select “Approval” tab -> Start approval when a new item is added -> click “Continue” button

Microsoft Flow - Template

Microsoft Flow – Template

  • Rename to Vacation Requests
  • Site Address: Select your SharePoint URL from the drop down list
  • List Name: Will auto populate from the previous lists we created, select “Vacations Requests”
Microsoft Flow - When a new item is created

Microsoft Flow – When a new item is created

 

Move mouse to arrow right below first step and click “+” -> Add an Action

  • In search type “Get manager” -> Select “Get manager (V2)
  • User (UPN): under Search dynamic content type “Created by” -> Select “Created by Email
Microsoft Flow - Get Manager

Microsoft Flow – Get Manager

 

Select “Start an approval” and modify as follows

  • Title: Please review: Vacation Requestor’s Vacation Request
  • Assigned To: Mail
  • Details: Created By DisplayName at Created
  • Item Link: Link to Item
  • Item Link Description: Name’s Vacation Request
Microsoft Flow - Start an approval

Microsoft Flow – Start an approval

Click on “Condition” step to modify the “If yes” entry in order for it to update the vacation request list to “Approved” and to add the calendar entry in the Vacation Calendar created earlier

Microsoft Flow - Condition

Microsoft Flow – Condition

 

Click on “Inform item creator of approval” and change the following:

  • To: Created By Email
  • Subject: Approved By: Approver Name
Microsoft Flow - Inform item creator of approval

Microsoft Flow – Inform item creator of approval

Click “Add an action” -> type/select “Set content approval status” and modify as follows

  • Site Address: Use same URL as used in first step of flow
  • Library Name: Select list created for vacation requests
  • Id: ID
  • Action: Approve
  • Comments: Approved By: Approver Name
Microsoft Flow - Set Content approval status

Microsoft Flow – Set Content approval status

Click “Add an action” -> Type/select “Create Item” and modify as follows

  • Site Address: Use same URL as used above
  • Library Name: Calendar will not display in drop down, but type in name exactly as it was created above
  • Title: Created By DisplayName’s Vacation
  • Start Time: Start Date
  • End Time: End Date
Microsoft Flow - Create Item

Microsoft Flow – Create Item

Now that we have wrapped up the configuration have a user test out the process by entering in a vacation request. That user’s manager will get an email with an option to Approve or Reject the request. Below I have outlined the steps to take

Have testing user click “New” on the Vacation Request list -> Fill in the blanks -> Click Save

Vacation Request form filled out

Vacation Request form filled out

Manager receives email from Flow -> Select “Approve” -> add comment if desired -> click “Submit”

Vacation Request Email

Vacation Request Email

The user who submitted the request receives an email back from the manager about approval, the Vacation Request list is updated to Approved, and there is also a new calendar entry.

Vacation request approved

Vacation request approved

Vacation Submitted Calendar

Vacation Submitted Calendar

At first this glance this can feel like a long process to set up, but setting up a vacation request workflow will introduce some automation into the busy work day and can help coordinate vacations as we come into the summer months. Please contact us here if you would like help setting up this workflow or have any questions with any of Microsoft’s cloud offerings.

 

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